We flew around the globe in 18 days. Boston west to LA to Tokyo; then Tokyo west to London back to Boston. This wasn't planned, or by choice; we got screwed by American Airlines. The extra 7 hours gave me time to eat Fish-n-chips over a pint and reflect.
What I will miss most:
Japanese Shower Toilets, so refreshing.
No tipping! You pay for the food and the booze and that's it; no math involved.
The neon pedestrian man: who showed how much time you have left to cross.
What I won't miss:
smoking in some restaurants.
lack of breakfast food places (hot dogs do not constitute breakfast!)
The hurry up and eat culture
The itty-bitty 2-person beds- glorified twins, really
Matthew says Japan ruined Boston for two things:
sushi and the trains
My Japan Top 5:
1. Kyoto. Every day in Kyoto was wonderful. On my most favorite day I saw geisha for the first time, walked the Philosophers Path, ate Kyoto buttered toast and omikased at Tseuneo, ryokaned at Gion Morisiyo.
2. The food. It was difficult to contain it to even a Top Ten meals- a couple meals made our List of All-Time Meals! My absolute favorite was the Tseuneo omikase in Kyoto with the fedora-hatted chef, the man with the heavy-hand grating truffles. We did not feel rushed and he introduced us to caviar. The Tsukiji fish market and the Kanazawa sushi- I mean, you can't get any fresher than that! And a dab o' wasabi will do ya. Many of the meals were memorable: the omikases, izakaris (especially the Kanazawa one), sushi, beef - Kobe (it really is THAT good) and Hida, ramen, and soba... The food definitely is a highlight.
3. The Satoyama Experience bike ride through the Hida countryside. Japan is full of so many neon, sensory-overloaded cities, it was so nice to get out and peddle through the rice patties, and to get my curiosity questions answered.
4. The Sumo tourney was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I may not totally understand it, but I appreciate it. And it was fun to be a part of it.
5. The gardens. Again, I admire how the Japanese, no matter the chaos, manage to carve out a bit of nature amid the crazy. The dry- landscape gardens were my favorite.